What Is a Dental X-Ray License?

Dental assistants must sometimes work with x-ray machines. As a dental assistant, you may be required to hold a license in some states. You may also need a license if you work in other positions that require performing radiologic procedures. Learn more about dental assisting and licensing requirements here. Schools offering Dental Technician degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Dental X-Ray Licensing Overview

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), most states require a form of licensing, registration or certification of those who use radiological equipment in a dental setting. The procedure for obtaining a license is set at the state level; therefore, requirements vary. The BLS reported that in some states, completing the Dental Assisting National Board's (DANB) Radiation Health and Safety examination or Certified Dental Assistant examination may be adequate for earning an x-ray license.

Such licenses are typically required only for dental assistants. In Ohio, for example, according to the Ohio State Dental Board, dentists and dental hygienists aren't required to hold an x-ray license because they are already licensed by the state. Most states, even those without licensing requirements, usually mandate that any x-ray procedures must be carried out under the direct supervision of a dentist.

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2018) $38,660 (for dental assistants)
Entry-level Education Postsecondary non degree award
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 19% growth (for dental assistants)
Key Skills Detail-oriented, dexterity, interpersonal skills, listening skills, organizational skills

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics


While each state has different requirements for becoming licensed, the process typically begins with filing an application with the state agency that handles x-ray licensing. With your application you will submit proof of your educational background. Education requirements usually include completing a specific number of hours of training as a dental assistant or holding a degree in dental assisting.

You may also be subject to a criminal background check or be required to undergo approval by the issuing agency based on board-specific requirements. In some states, you will have to pass an examination.

Some states may accept licensing from another state. Typically, you'll be required to submit proof of your licensing and to meet any state requirements that weren't fulfilled when you obtained the license from the other state.

License Maintenance

To keep your license active, you will need to follow the state's renewal procedures. Usually, renewing your license is something that must be done on a regular basis, such as every two years. The most common process for license renewal is submitting a renewal application and showing proof that you have completed continuing education coursework. Continuing education might focus on topics such as radiation biology and physics, safety policies for x-ray procedures and new radiographic techniques.

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